On the Other Side

Before my surgery, I wrote a blog entry that I intended to be encouraging to my friends, family and even to many I’ve never met face to face who follow me on Twitter. I hope it was encouraging.

Well, the surgery was successful, I’m recovering my strength at home, and the danger is over. Now comes a change in my diet, my activity and many other areas of life. My sweet wife of 40 years, Gloria, is trying to learn to make dishes that have very little cholesterol and still taste good. Many good cooks will know that this is something like magic as most of the things in our diet, especially in Texas, taste good by virtue of things that make us sick.

The recovery and the changes require a different kind of grace than did the surgery. There, of course, I was trusting God for my life—for the opportunity to stay a little longer in this world with those I love, those to whom I minister, my students, my dear family—now I’m trusting God to give me wisdom and discipline to make everyday changes that I don’t like much, but that are essential if I’m to live among those I love in good health, without being a burden to them.

I am confident, though, that these things have come into my life for purpose planned before the foundation of the world, as everything in the life of every believer: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

I’ve learned some things in the last couple of weeks:

I’ve learned compassion for those who are sick in a new way.

I’ve learned that there are many in the world and the church who are much kinder than I and that I need to be more like them—another change needed in me.

I’ve learned that one of God’s greatest means of comfort is through those who love us and who give their time and effort to minister to our needs.

I’ve learned from the many medical folks, doctors and nurses and others, that kindness is a work of our hands as well as of our hearts, for they did not know me and yet were unfailingly kind to do the worst kind of jobs and to meet my needs with never a complaint.

I’ve learned that one meal where I eat what tastes good that is also bad for me can kill me [when multipled by thousands over many years].

I’ve learned that, though like Paul, I long to be with the Lord, that there are yet people, dear ones to whom I can minister and those who, for difficult to explain reasons, love me, for whom I need to yet be in this world.

May our Father give me the grace to learn these lessons with all my heart and make the changes of habit and attitude that I need to be a better servant to Him and to all of those who belong to Him.

D.P.

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